It had the cosy, rural setting, the received pronunciation English accents, the urgent violin soundtrack, the ridiculously high-waisted costumes and just the right amount of sexual scandal and intrigue. Yes, Grantchester was pretty much Downton Abbey, just a bit racier.
It was a comfortable drama, a none too strenuous watch and held my attention (which is no easy feat; ask my long suffering wife) for the full hour. It focused on the vicar of a small village, who found himself embroiled in a murder investigation after looking too deeply into an apparent suicide. The vicar, with the almost porn-star name of Sidney Chambers, held a funeral for the ‘suicide’ victim where all others would not, which won him the respect and attention of the victim’s secret lover, who suggested that all was not as it seems.
Unable to resist the conspiracy, Sidney sought the advice of a policeman called Geordie, played by Geordie Robson Green of Waterloo Road and Extreme Fishing fame. Geordie was a no nonsense, chain smoking, backgammon winning, Simon Cowell trouser wearing arm of the law who took some heavy persuading to buy into Sidney’s murder theory. But Mr Chambers kept up his Sherlock Holmes act and before long, the pair set out to crack the case.
The moment we saw the mousey receptionist, it became pretty obvious that she had a hand in the dispatch; after all it’s ALWAYS the mousey one so it either had to be her, or Little Mo from EastEnders who made a cameo as Geordie’s wife. However, the predictability of the outcome and the lack of surprise twists were not a problem; much like Downton, this was meant to make relaxing viewing, just with an added edge. We had joyful cycling through flowery villages and frolicking at the riverside, merged with bullets through the head and illicit scenes of sex, so you couldn’t really go wrong for a Monday night drama.
The characters became more likeable as the episode went on and I found myself enjoying the friendship brewing between Sidney and Geordie. While not a crime thriller that will be known for taxing the brain, this was an enjoyable hour of drama and I look forward to seeing their next case, in the village that looks set to be as dangerous as Midsomer.
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Written By Our Man In The North